We had an enjoyable, if blunderific Saturday at the magic tourney, the ole' Oathstill and I.
Kari and I drove over to BC Comix in Battle Creek. We made it in 35 min. from our house, which was a baffling experience. Keep in mind that I live in a town without a stoplight, in an apartment under a funeral home garage, beside a neighbor who keeps hounds for coon hunting which howl inexplicably at any hour of the day or night. So to be able to escape from the daily Eudora Welty story in which I live and be sitting at a vintage magic tourney in half an hour is a pretty exciting addition to my life.
I met @mourningpalace as I walked in to the place. (Odd, since as I've told you, I rent from a mourning palace.) He is a really nice guy. We talked Vintage as I watched the usual cast of characters wander in, plus a couple young fellows who turned out to be strong players.
I played mourningpalace, aka Dave Cheeseman, round 1. I went 2-0. He was on Thieves as predicted. I was able to control both games well enough and eventually Oath out and kill him in a few turns. There were however, certainly turns where my guard was down and a well timed Tinker or Yawg would have been the end of me and he just didn't hit. So I felt a bit lucky to get through this one.
Round 2 - I played against Paradoxical Storm with Vault Key. I went 1-2. I lost game one pretty quickly. I played an Oath, didn't find the Orchard, and my death was "deterministic" when he dropped a main board Defense Grid and destroyed me. In game 2 I found what I thought was an interesting line to win. I allowed a mid-game Paradoxical, but blew up a single artifact with Abrupt Decay such that he only drew two cards. Still holding a Force, I Extirpated his Paradoxical in response to the first Mox being replayed, and he scooped. In game 3, I got destroyed. He went for it on turn three, only to walk a Tinker into Mindbreak Trap. I untapped and Wasted both his lands leaving him with a lonesome Mox. He untapped, dropped Lotus, Tutored for half of of Vault/Key and took all the turns.
In round three I played Charlie Krug on Shops. I've been a thorn in Charlie's side lately and the retribution is coming... but not today Charlie! Not today. He got me in game 1. Which makes me mad. I feel like I should be 2-0 in this matchup more than I do, if I could just find Oath... but alas. It hid from me all game. But the sb experiment for Shops is to board in 2 Wastes and 4 Energy Flux. That feels... mighty. I won the two boarded games. I've been arguing with folks about how good Flux is against Shops. And I can now actually see their point. Flux can be had to cast, no doubt. But after boarding the OathStill deck has 20 lands, and 4 Moxen a Sol Ring and the Lotus... that kind of mana base coupled with 4 Flux gives even Walking Ballista Shops all kinds of trouble. Something else about that, is that Shops almost has to keep Cage on the table against Oath, and Flux really makes that hard. I have also become convinced that Engineered Explosives is great! I have 1 mainboard, and should probably have another, or at least one in the side. I can't think of a single match-up where it's dead. It is phenomenal against the taxing decks. Being able to set it at two for actual two mana, through a couple of taxing effects is amazing. This busted me out of prison in game three and I went on to win. Only 5% of decks run this card... which is insane. Serum Powder is more popular. As is Blightsteel Collosus, Wheel of Fortune, and Lightning Bolt. I think EE is great.
Round 4 - Now I'm 2-1 in matches and need another match win for the money... Bunglesville here I come. (French, so it's classy) I open up round 4 against one of the young fellows I mentioned earlier. I'm sure he's on blue, and he drops a Wasteland and says go... Ok. I look at a hand with a lot of options. I cycle Timewalk on turn 1 via a Mox. Then stare at Lotus + Tutor and a world of options. I decide to try for Jace, like an idiot. This is really a terrible play the more I think about it. There are so many better lines I can think of now. But I pull the trigger and resolve everything and brainstorm with the Mindsculptor. Then he drops Ancient Tomb into Ravager and Sphere... I am a fool. I should have scouted this. I should have gotten Oath. Long Long story short. I find Oath, but too late. Activate it an find the infinite mana combo with Salvagers and hardcast the Griselbrand. I also have EE in hand but can't find either the Emrakul or the Sensei's top to draw my deck. I die to Double Walking Ballistas the next turn, by a single point of damage... Then it got worse. I win game two quite easily on the strength of early, multiple Fluxen. Then game three goes long. I have locked out the opponent again on a Flux and countermagic. He can't keep anything relevant on the table. But I am sloppy, and again digging for Oath results in bricks. I finally Oath out as we run out of time, and I don't have enough turns to kill him. He drops a Karakas at the end, that he had the entire time. We draw, in a match that, with all due respect to my opponent, I feel like should go 2-0 in my favor. An interesting line was suggested by a kibitzer. He suggested playing a Ravager and sacing a bunch of things such that Mishra's Factory would receive 4 counters and be able to kill me. In hind sight that line would not have worked since I have a pair of factories myself, and could have double blocked, double pumped to kill off his factory in question. It was an interesting observation though.
Round 5 - I play against Landstill, which has been my worst matchup in testing. Game 1 goes 35 mins and I win. He plays a standstill on turn 1, I drop a factory. He has to break it a few turns later. I resolve Jace, he resolves Jace. Our lands dual for superiority and in the end I beat him to death with a man-land and only 5 life left on my dice. This one was an epic game. I wish I had this on tape. There is no way either of us played optimally, since there were just so so many choices.
Then in game 2, I need at least a draw for the money. This one was a lot like the first one. I have no sideboard at all for Landstill really. But I decide since he has more land abilities than me, I board out all my Standstills and an Abrupt Decay. I bring in 2 Extirpate, 2 Wasteland, and the Warping Wail I have around for the Thieves match-up, because what the heck. It counters sorceries and hits his Snapcaster and Baby Jace. The entire match actually turns on this card.
We are grinding away at each other. Again he's gotten himself into trouble playing a Standstill that he has to break himself. But we both have a ton of cards in hand. He plays Treasure Cruise, and I aim Warping Wail at it. He shrugs and says... ok. Then Forces the Wail. I play Ancestral, building the stack. He Missteps. I play Mindbreak Trap. He plays Flusterstorm and thinks for a moment. He aims 5 copies at my Trap, and 3 at my Wail. I play Flusterstorm. He has a lot of mana left untapped, and I'm a little worried about the other 3 Missteps in his deck plus paying. So I aim everything at the copies targeting my Trap, think that so long as the Trap resolves, I am blowing him out. He taps 5 and hardcasts a Force from his hand. It feels like I've just made a full house into 4 of a kind. He was playing Cruise with quadruple counter backup. I watch him draw three cards.
But I'm not out of it yet. I play a tutor and resolve it. Getting my own Dig. I resolve dig... and brick huge. I keep Salvagers and Top, sending back Emrakul and Land. EE is in my yard so if I can resolve everything all I need is the Lotus to combo him out. He resolves Sphinx of the Last Word and I have 2 turns. Time is called. I top, look, preordain, ponder, top... and find nothing and die on the second to last turn of the game. We draw the match. He takes second place. I take fifth and get nothing.
On the day. I played just well enough to finish in the highest place that doesn't get paid. I only lost 4 total games. I lost 1 match. But I drew twice in key situations. This deck is really interesting, there are some great things about it and a few problems. But the biggest problem today was me. I can think of at least 4 games I could have won but managed not to. Both draws. Game 1 against the second Shops deck being the real standouts. I need to play better or find a simpler deck.
FYI The top four decks were. 1st Cronastery Mentor, 2nd Landstill, 3rd Paradoxical Storm with Vault/Key, 4th Ravager Shops